Highway deaths going up in Louisiana

April 9, 2007
Reported by Marty Briggs

Preliminary figures for 2006 show that about 990 people died on Louisiana roadways that year -- and that number may be higher.

Law enforcement agencies will be compiling statistics until May 1st.

State highway officials say if the number reaches one-thousand, it will be the highest road death toll in Louisiana for the last fifteen years.

Jim Champagne, head of the state's Highway Safety Commission, is expected to take part in a four-hour briefing on highway safety issues today.  The briefing will include the financial toll of highway deaths, an emergency room technician's explanation of what the body goes through during a crash and changes in cars' safety features during the coming years.

Also to be discussed is the 12 billion in outstanding roadway work that needs to be done in Louisiana and the upcoming legislation that, if passed, could help decrease traffic crashes.

State Police officials say 2007 is shaping up to be one of the worst highway safety years on record.  Louisiana State Police Troop I alone has investigated 20 crashes resulting in 25 fatalities on state roads in the Acadiana region this year.  That doesn't count the numbers investigated by individual police departments and sheriff's offices in each parish.